Celebrating travel and tourism in Arkansas
By Waymon Cox
Greetings from Crater of Diamonds State Park! This week, Park Interpreter Margi Jenks and I will be visiting the Texarkana and Red River Arkansas Welcome Centers to promote our park in celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week.
Though many visitors to Crater of Diamonds State Park are from Arkansas, more than half of the 117,000 people who visit each year come from other states. While positive word-of-mouth brings many people to our park, many travelers first learn about the Crater of Diamonds while at an Arkansas Welcome Center!
There are 13 welcome centers located at points of entry around Arkansas. In 2012 Arkansas Welcome Center travel consultants directed 865,147 travelers to various points of interest throughout the state.
Every 50th travel party who met with welcome center staff was asked to take part in a survey to collect travel statistics for Arkansas. According to 9,838 people surveyed last year, the top five origins of out-of-state travelers were Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Louisiana.
Pike County, where Crater of Diamonds State Park is located, was listed as the tenth most popular destination for survey respondents in 2012, and Crater of Diamonds State Park was the second most popular Arkansas State Park destination for 7,879 travelers registered at Arkansas Welcome Centers during the year.
Travelers not only influence the success of places they visit; they also impact the state’s economy. According to information compiled by the Research and Information Services Section of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, 62,018 people spent more than $14,800,000 in Pike County businesses last year. These travel expenditures generated more than $320,000 in local taxes and financed 178 jobs. Statewide, nearly 23 million travelers contributed $301,145,796 to state taxes and generated a total of 58,452 jobs!
As we celebrate the numerous benefits of travel and tourism this week, if you happen to find yourself near a welcome center in Arkansas or another state, be sure to stop by and thank the staff for helping you and so many others find their way to businesses and attractions across the country. Who knows where we’d all be without them!
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Search area last plowed: April 23, 2013
Most recent significant precipitation: May 2, 2013
Diamond finds for the week of April 28, 2013 (100 points = one carat):
April 28 – Scott Sprague, Elkridge, MD, 15 pt. white; Faye Neaves, Huntington, WV, 81 pt. white
April 29 – David Anderson, Murfreesboro, AR, 1.16 ct. brown; Scott Sprague, Elkridge, MD, 9 pt. white
April 30 – Jim Graham, Prescott, AR, 3 pt. yellow, 7 pt. white, 12 pt. brown; Larry & Gretchen McCollum, Hindsville, AR, 7 pt. white, 9 pt. white; Bonnie Kasper, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, 3 pt. brown
May 1 – Jeremy & Tiffany Farley, Cincinnati, OH, 79 pt. brown; Mike & Brooke Klawitter, Berlin, WI, 1 pt. white, 2 pt. white, 2 pt. yellow, 3 pt. white, 10 pt. brown
May 2 – Timothy Gray, Royal, AR, 6 pt. brown, 6 pt. white, 9 pt. white; Jeremy Gray, Booneville, AR, 21 pt. brown
May 3 – Ron Cudmore, Murfreesboro, AR, 13 pt. white; Kenneth Shoemaker, Murfreesboro, AR, 2 pt. white
May 4 – Ron Cudmore, Murfreesboro, AR, 2 pt. brown; Miriam Otting, Rome, GA, 33 pt. yellow; David Anderson, Murfreesboro, AR, 25 pt. brown